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June 09, 2005

All You Older Teachers Out There--Read This!

Hello everyone!

Now THIS is what I'm talking about! Thank you to Angela Homer for this terrific post. I couldn't have said it better myself.

'I was interested in your comments about older teachers as I went to South Korea to teach after retirement from the Ontario School system at the age of 59. I completed a TESOL course first as it came with a guarantee of a job. I soon found out that applying for jobs at that age was not easy. I wanted to teach Pre-School/Kindergarten age and was told by no less than three schools in Taiwan that they could not employ me because I "could not run fast enough to catch little children." I took matters into my own hands by doing as you suggested and posted resumes that really blew my own horn in terms of professional achievements, skills, love of children and parental appreciation of my teaching ability. Interestingly, the owner of the franchise of two of the schools which turned me down emailed me asking me to apply to one of his schools! However, I was offered the perfect job for me - designing and teaching an Immersion Pre-School program. My director was totally honest in terms of how much she could afford to pay me actually showing me the business cost breakdown and increased my salary as she was able to. Initially parents were a little uncertain of my ability to teach their children because of my age, but two years later many actually cried because I needed to leave due to family matters. The only problem the director had was coping with parental demands to place their child in my after-school class.

I worked long hours and documented all of my unpaid preparation time. I worked paid overtime classes by choice and was the only teacher, Korean or foreign, who did not take one sick-leave day. I would not have missed the experience for the world. The Korean people were very kind to me and at times I was a little ashamed of the lack of effort by some ESL teachers to do a reasonable job in the classroom. Many were still operating in "student-mode" and regarding the experience as a paid holiday.

After leaving Korea, I did some recruiting for the area I had worked in, with my director as liason. I did find jobs for a few older teachers, but the general desire was still for the young teacher. I would suggest that older teachers wishing to teach in Korea look for jobs that do not involve Saturday teaching and recognise that they will probably not receive additional pay for their experience. However, if you can learn to go with the flow, be prepared to change plans at very short notice and go with positive expectations of enjoying the cultural experience, then you may enjoy the time as much as I did. It actually opened a whole new life for me in Canada hosting and tutoring ESL students.'

Way to go Angela! For all of you who have emailed asking if it's possible to enter this profession at an older age, here's your answer.

Until next time!

Michelle

Posted by msimmons at June 9, 2005 07:04 PM

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ESL Lesson Plan is a blog I just discovered that writes about teaching ESL. The blogs author, Michelle Simmons, is the editor-at-larger for ESL Employment. I recommend checking this blog out. Michelle has been blogging for several months and up... [Read More]

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